Happen to be in London anytime between May 8 to 12? Then you’re pretty much in for a treat. It’s between these dates that the London Craft Week makes its return, with a plethora of interesting things to do and see. What can you expect, you ask? Well, this annual event plumbs the depth of all things crafty. It allows you to try your hand at everything from porcelain sculpting to basket weaving, upholstering, fabric dyeing, knife assembling and candle making.
If you’ve ever wondered how a globe is made, then this is the place you’ll find out. There is even a demonstration of how beds are put together – from inception all the way to completion. There are also all kinds of exhibitions and workshops. Pitch in with other guests to piece together a large-scale mosaic artwork, for instance. Or maybe gain first-hand insight on how a luxury automobile is created.
Tired of wine tastings? Join an ice-cream tasting to learn how true artisans produce the sweet dessert. Then take a sip of London’s finest craft brews – you don’t have to be a hardened hop tester to appreciate it. While you may not be able to catch everything that’s going on (after all, there are over 240 makers, designers, brands and galleries participating in this year’s event), we’ve rounded up some of the ultimate must-dos for the five-day creative event.
You’ve probably heard of kintsugi – the renowned Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum. Now, you can try your hand at it. This workshop is intended as an entry to a deeper art, where you learn straight from the pros. All guidance and work will be done on small plates and incense holders, which you can then bring home as keepsakes.
May 9, 11, 12 (11.30am-1.30pm, 1.30-3.30pm, 4-6pm, 6-8pm). Bargehouse Street, SE1 9PH. Booking necessary.
Belmond Cadogan Hotel Art Tour
The Belmond Cadogan Hotel located in Chelsea is a must-visit for art buffs. Over the course of its fashionable history, the hotel has hosted a cadre of notable figures, from Oscar Wilde, who was arrested in his pied-à-terre in the hotel, to Lillie Langtry, an actress, socialite, and mistress of King Edward VII. Recently reopened following a US$48 million restoration, the resplendent hotel now houses more than 430 pieces of original artwork.
May 8 (10-10.30am, 11-11.30am), May 9 (10-10.30am, 10.30-11am). Belmond Cadogan Hotel, 75 Sloane Street, SW1X 7SG. Booking necessary.
Custom Upholstery Open Studio
For those looking to furnish their pad with a sofa, chair or stool of their own making, interior designer Robert Kime is hosting a custom upholstery workshop with a range of antique fabrics and trims. Kime has worked on grand houses internationally, with clients the likes of the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Beaufort. His interiors combine a range of aesthetics, often with the tasteful use of antiques, vintage textiles and quirky pieces.
May 9 (10am-5pm). 190-192 Ebury Street, SW1W 8UP. Items created will need to be purchased.
Behind The Scenes In A Globe Maker’s Studio
This rare one-day workshop will allow you to have your hands on the world – literally. It gives you the chance to make your own individually scribed and decorated porcelain globe with artist, ceramicist and cartographer Loraine Rutt.
Starting with a blank globe, guests will be shown how to design and finish a personally bespoke globe, learning how to fettle, scribe and paint with ceramic oxides to create a “worldly” masterpiece.
May 8 (10am-5pm). Arch 191 Blenheim Court, 48–50 Blenheim Grove, SE15 4QL. Booking necessary (£275).
Artisan Ice-Cream Tasting
At London Craft Week, ice-cream is not just ice-cream. This is something you will learn as you join the Ice Cream Union for a really special ice-cream tasting. Discover how true artisan ice creams are produced, and how they differ from industrially-produced varieties. As the company puts it, “We believe that ice cream should be made in small batches with pride, passion and integrity churned into every glorious mouthful.” Now, that’s art. No arguments whatsoever.
May 8-10 (11am-12noon). 166 Pavilion Road, SW1X 0AW. Booking necessary.
Bentley: A Century of Building
Are you a petrolhead? Then visit Jack Barclay Bentley’s flagship showroom and enjoy workshops by craftspeople from their state-of-the-art factory in Crewe, where advanced production technology is balanced with traditional artisanal skills. Watch demonstrations of their expertise with leather, metal and wood, which makes each Bentley car unique. Or perhaps gain a little insight into how every element of a Bentley car is created, and not just merely assembled.
May 8-10 (12noon-5pm), May 11 (12noon-4pm). 18 Berkeley Square, W1J 6AE. Booking not necessary.
Candle Making Masterclass
To hone your olfactory sense, why not join in on a masterclass of candle making? You will be learning the art with multisensory home fragrance brand Earl of East London – in the famed flagship store itself. Founders Niko Dafkos and Paul Firmin first began by hand pouring scented soy wax candles from their home. Today, they have established themselves as a popular homeware brand with a strong focus on fragrance.
May 8 (11am-12.30noon), May 11 (10.15-11.45am). Bonds Stable Street, N1C 4AB. Booking necessary (£45).
London Craft Week Special Podcast
In conjunction with London Craft Week, renowned British audio brand KEF is teaming up with selected participants of the event for a podcast, The Sound of Craftsmanship. Discover a specially-curated lineup of makers from the likes of Rolls Royce, Struthers Watchmakers, designer Alexandra Llewellyn and more, as they ‘transport’ you to their world with exclusive interviews, interlaced with the signature sounds of their craft.
Tune in to the podcast here.